At the beginning of the 19th century, travel by any means must have been slow and difficult, given the poor state of the chalk tracks in Wiltshire and the only modes of transport being foot, horse, cart, carriage or coach. Then in 1830, presaging a nation-wide change in transport the first public railway opened between Liverpool and Manchester.
There followed a rapid explosion in railway building across the country, with the Great Western railway (GWR) creating a link between London and Bristol in 1833. This left the Ogbournes and Marlborough not far from a major new transport route and it wasn’t long before a proposal for a line between Manchester and Southampton was mooted, along the line of the Og valley. A Bill enabling the railway was passed by the House of Commons, but was vigorously opposed by the GWR it was defeated in the House of Lords by the chairman’s casting vote.
For 30 years no further attempts were made to create a North / South link, until in 1873 the Midland & South Western Junction Railway was formed, with the passing of the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway Act. Problems with the route around Swindon caused delays and it wasn’t until 1879, that a revised route was agreed. The official opening was 27th July 1881. With a station built at Ogbourne St George, travel to Swindon & Marlborough markets was made easier, for people & stock. Coal prices were reduced and local racehorse trainers able to send horses away to distant racecourses.